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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » The Invisible Boy

   
Author Topic: The Invisible Boy
Tim Young
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I'm looking for feedback on the first chapter. Does it hook you? What do you think of the characters? Does it need more sense of place? Do the events make sense?

Here are the first 13:

Jared Kieso was four days from turning sixteen when he discovered he could make himself disappear. He found out later that he could do a lot more than just disappear, but it was the disappearing he stumble upon first. And it was the disappearing that gave him the most trouble, which seemed kind of ironic to him sometimes, since being able to make yourself disappear seemed liked it should be good for getting out of trouble, not into it.
When he first found out about it he was at school eating lunch with about six of his friends. The cafeteria was crowded and noisy. Kids trying to find somewhere to sit kept bumping up against Jared as he tried to eat his sandwich.


Please let me know if you'd like to read the whole chapter so I can send it to you.

[This message has been edited by Tim Young (edited January 04, 2010).]


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ScardeyDog
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Hi Tim,

My comments are in bold, with some general thoughts below.

quote:
Jared Kieso was four days from turning sixteen when he discovered he could make himself disappear. He found out later that he could do a lot more than just disappear, but it was the disappearing he stumble upon first. And it was the disappearing that gave him the most trouble, which seemed kind of ironic to him sometimes,I would cut "sometimes" since being able to make yourself disappear seemed liked it should be good for getting out of trouble, not into it. I like this sentence.
When he first found out about it he was at school eating lunch with about six of his friends.This sentence doesn't work for me. "about it" is too general - about his powers? - and "about six of his friends" seems weird. He will know how many people there are. A specific number isn't very important, why not just say "with his friends" or "a group of his friends"? The cafeteria was crowded and noisy. Kids trying to find somewhere to sit kept bumping up against Jared as he tried to eat his sandwich. This sentence stuck out to me, and I think it might be because it's passive. (I'm not great on grammar) Can it be re-worded so that Jared is performing an action/being bumped, instead of generic "kids"?

I like the first paragraph, but it does set the story up as something that happened in the past. Even though most people write in past tense there is the impression that events are happening in the present, as you read them. When you start a story with the MC thinking back about it the reader knows that the MC lived through the events, which lessens the danger. It's not necessarily a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

The irony part of the first sentence gives me an impression of Jared as a guy with a sense of humor. Other than that I've got no real feel for him, but that's probably just a space limitation thing. The disappearing and other powers are a good hook, everything else is very normal. (Which is good if you wanted him to appear to be an average teenager in highschool).

edited to fix ubb code errors

[This message has been edited by ScardeyDog (edited January 05, 2010).]


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bandgeek9723
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I like it and would probably keep reading. I agree with many of the things that ScardeyDog had to say about it, and as such don't have a whole lot to add on that front. Though you definitely need to bring it closer to the present. You can send me the first chapter if you like. It may take me a little bit of time to get to though since I just started back at school.
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stutson
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I like the first paragraph. The switch from "him" to "yourself" threw me a bit. It makes sense after I studied it a bit, but I shouldn't be detoured by that.

Seems like the second paragraph could launch in the "present past" as ScardeDog mentioned.

I like the premis and the tone. I'd like to read more if you send it on.


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dougsguitar
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Tim
I don't think I could offer more tech than ScardeyDog (good crit!) so I'll try to answer the specific questions you posted.
1. It hooks me a little, enough to see if the second page clarifies where the story is going.
2. I don't really get a solid picture of Jared's character. At this point he could be any of a thousand dudes I went to high school with. Granting the shortness of 13 lines.
3. I get a totally complete picture of standard high school action. No need to fill in any more of that with me personally, even though high school started for me before the internet was invented!!!
4. Yes! I have no doubt about what is going on.

Would like to see what you do with this. Doug


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MAP
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The first paragraph is a little hooky, but telling (which is not always a bad thing). The next paragraph you go back to describe the first time he disappeared. My thoughts are why not start there(where he disappears for the first time) and skip the first paragraph. Then you can show him disappearing instead of telling us that he can.

I suggest playing around with it to see if it is better.

Hope this helps.


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Tim Young
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I really appreciate all the feedback on the first 13. I'm mulling it over right now.

Also, I've sent the first chapter to everyone who requested it. Was there anyone I missed?


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